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  • Olumide Abioye
    Civil and Environmental Engineering

    Olumide F. Abioye is a doctoral student at the Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering at Florida A & M University-Florida State University College of Engineering. Abioye holds a Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.) degree in Civil Engineering from the Federal University of Technology, Akure (Nigeria), and M.Sc. degree from Florida A&M University (Tallahassee, Florida, USA) in Civil Engineering with concentration in Transportation. His research interests include but are not limited to hazard mitigation, hazard preparedness, operations research, optimization, simulation modeling, metaheuristics, hybrid algorithms, transportation engineering, freight transportation, liner shipping scheduling, mathematical programming, and simulation modeling. 

    Abioye has been involved in a variety of research projects (valued at $1.1+ million), sponsored by

    United States Department of Transportation, Florida Department of Transportation, Center for Accessibility and Safety for an Aging Population, and the Institute of Successful Longevity. Currently, Abioye’s research focuses on the development of an efficient algorithm for efficient evacuation operations. Abioye has presented his research at several conferences and has won various competitions, fellowships, and scholarships. Abioye is a Bill Anderson Fund Fellow, David Dwight Eisenhower Transportation Fellow, and University Transportation Center doctoral fellow. He currently serves as the vice president of the big-bend student chapter of the Institute of Transportation Engineers.

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  • Jennifer Blanks
    Department of Landscape Architecture & Urban Planning

    Jennifer Blanks is a doctoral student at Texas A & M University in the Urban Development and Regional Science program. Her research interests are understanding how geospatial technology is currently being used to improve long-term recovery for socially vulnerable populations following natural disasters such as nuisance flooding and hurricane flooding. More specifically, she is seeking to identify a practical technique that will monitor the recovery progress in real-time using innovative spatial technology. Her other research interests include analyzing the changes in land cover of historically African American cemeteries impacted by flooding from Hurricane Harvey throughout the state of Texas using remote sensing technology. Through her research, Jennifer wishes to encourage women, especially women of color, to learn and apply geospatial technology to increase their representation as GIS users across all academic and professional disciplines.

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  • Maggie Chamberlain
    Department of Sociology

    ​Maggie is pursuing a PhD in Sociology from Oklahoma State University with concentrations in Environmental Sociology, Social Movements, and GIS. She is a Texas State Alumna, with a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Sociology. Her research interests involve environmental justice and equity in the disaster lifecycle, with a focus on disaster mitigation, preparedness and recovery. She is currently completing a manuscript regarding racial/ethnic diversity and pollution exposure in Houston and working on a project investigating coalition formation activities between student organizations. Maggie is also working on building the foundations of a dissertation on environmental justice in the context of disasters.

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  • Nancy Contreras
    Sociology & Criminal Justice

    ​Nancy Contreras is a criminology doctoral student at the University of Delaware. She earned her Master of Criminal Justice degree at the University of Colorado Denver, and her master’s thesis explored activist ideology, social media practices in organizing protests, and perceived community relations with law enforcement. Nancy also earned a Bachelor of Science in Criminal Justice and a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California Lutheran University. She has previous practitioner experience in services for women experiencing homelessness, the juvenile justice system, and behavioral health outpatient care. Her additional academic work has focused on hate crimes and affirmative action. She is currently conducting a longitudinal, ethnographic study of a culture-specific program addressing the needs of urban Black youth and structural violence. Nancy’s research interests include intersectional criminology, race/ethnic inequality, culture, disasters, and community-based research.

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  • Dontá Council
    School of Public Service

    Dontá Council is a doctoral student in Public Administration & Policy at Old Dominion University. He holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Jacksonville State University and a Bachelor's degree in Political Science from Old Dominion University. His previous professional work was in student affairs and nonprofit & grant management. His current research interests are in emergency and disaster management, nonprofit and public management, and social equity. Some of his recent research has focused on risk analysis of vulnerable communities in coastal communities. This research has been presented at the Association of Public Policy Analysis and Management, the Virginia Sea Grant Graduate Symposium, and the Virginia Social Science Association. He is currently a doctoral scholar with the Southern Regional Education Board and is also a Bill Anderson Fund Fellow alum. 

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  • Lorita Daniels
    School of Public & International Affairs

    Lorita C. Daniels is currently a Ph.D. student in the School of Public and International Affairs at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.  She also holds a Master's degree in Public Administration from Valdosta State University. 

    Her research interests involve understanding how the implementation of public policies and administrative discretion may influence the level of public participation and public involvement efforts in community development projects.  Specifically, her dissertation will examine entitlement communities applying for federal funding to understand how local administrators are making decisions about the implementation of the federal mandate requiring public participation in local communities.   Her other related areas of research interest include disaster policy and planning, disaster recovery, disaster communities, emergency management, and collaborative governance.

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  • Benika Dixon
    School of Public Health

    Benika Dixon is a Doctor of Public Health (DrPH) candidate in the School of Public Health at Texas A&M University. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from Southern Connecticut State University and a Bachelor of Science in Chemistry from Spelman College in Atlanta, GA. Benika is a founding fellow of the William Averette Anderson Fund and previously served as the secretary and vice chairperson of the student advisory council. Benika currently serves as a lead teaching assistant for the newly developed MPH Core within the School of Public Health. The MPH Core is a case-based approach that not only provides a firm foundation for understanding the social machinery and scientific underpinnings of public health, but also flips the switch to put that machinery into action. 

    Prior to attending Texas A&M University, Benika served as a research associate for the Why Culture Matter Disaster Studies Project at Morgan State University. Her work as a research associate included the development of the Morgan State University Campus Emergency Response Team as well as partnering with the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) and several HBCUs to develop the HBCU Emergency Management Consortium. Her research interests include disaster related public health impacts on racial and ethnic minorities, health impacts on environmental justice communities, cultural diversity in the hazards/disaster workforce and more. 

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  • Oronde Drakes
    Geography & Sustainability Sciences

    Oronde Drakes is a doctoral student in the Department of Geographical and Sustainability Science at The University of Iowa, studying Geography. He is a Geoinformatics for Environmental and Energy Modeling and Prediction (GEEMaP) trainee funded by the National Science Foundation’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT). Drakes holds a Masters of Environmental Hazards and Geographic Information Systems from the Coventry University and a Bachelor of Arts in Geography from the University of Guyana. His previous work focused on flood vulnerability mapping and the impact of sea level rise on the coastal defences of the Demerara Mahaica region of Guyana. Upon completing his M.Sc., Drakes worked as a GIS and Hazard Specialist Consultant for International Development Agencies and NGOs (eg. UNDP; WWF) and Guyana’s national hazard management agency, contributing to management plans for pristine national parks, wetlands studies, and hazard vulnerability profiles. He simultaneously functioned as a part time lecturer at the University of Guyana, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences and the School of Education and Humanities. 

    Drakes’ current research examines the local processes that produce social vulnerability in multi-hazard settings. His work investigates human–environment interactions that create social vulnerability at local scales, the relationship between multi-hazard exposure and susceptibility and the integration of qualitative data and methods into social vulnerability index construction.

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  • Cassandra Jean
    Department of Sociology & Criminology

    I am a Ph.D. Student at Howard University in the Department of Sociology and Criminology, where I'm majoring in Criminology and Social Inequality. I have a background in Public Policy and Administration, International Relations, and Criminal Justice. My research focuses on the Sociology of Poverty, mainly how natural disasters impact federal policy and the implications it has on the greater social and global stratification system. I am also interested in the Sociology of Suffering and its relationship with politics and the economy. My current research looks at the 2017 hurricane season and how Hurricanes Harvey, Maria, and Irma has impacted individuals in the U.S Virgin Islands, Puerto Rico, and Houston/Beaumont, Texas, their recovery process, coping mechanisms, and hurricane preparedness.

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  • Heather Kirkland

    Heather Kirkland is a Bill Anderson Fund Fellow and Doctoral Candidate in Anthropology at American University in Washington D.C. While working on her Ph.D. part-time, she works full-time as a Budget Officer & Trainer with ten years of service at the university. Her project portfolio includes managing the budget for three units in academic affairs; designing training and curriculum on behalf of the finance division; emphasizing cross divisional collaboration to implement business intelligence and data governance tools. 

    Her overarching anthropological research focuses on mitigating the impacts of disasters on under-served communities in the United States. In 2012, she received an honorable mention from the National Science Foundation for her graduate research on disasters and trauma. 

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  • Natasha Malmin
    Andrew Young School of Policy Studies

    Natasha Prudent Malmin is a doctoral student within the joint public policy program at Georgia State University and the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. She holds a Master of Public Health degree from Emory University with a specialty in Global Environmental Health. Before entering the doctoral program, she worked for eight years within the field of public health, receiving several commendations and awards for her work with the Haiti Cholera epidemic and the 2014/15 Ebola outbreak.   Her research interests include participatory GIS mapping, social vulnerability, school recovery after disasters, and long-term community resilience. She is also interested in emergent collective warning systems before disasters, and the nexus between governance, health systems, and disaster management.

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  • Cristina Muñoz
    Geography & Sustainability Sciences

    Cristina E. Muñoz is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Geographical & Sustainability Sciences at the University of Iowa. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from Bryn Mawr College in an interdisciplinary program incorporating urban planning and environmental studies. Muñoz is originally from south central Los Angeles, California, and is a proud daughter of Salvadorian and Mexican parents. In Los Angeles, Muñoz was active in environmental justice efforts and was concerned for earthquake disasters. These experiences, in part, drove her research interest in the intersection of environmental justice and natural hazards, with particular interest to the needs of Latinos, Native American peoples, and other marginalized communities in the United States. 

    In her dissertation, Muñoz analyzes the distribution of federal disaster assistance across space and time. In particular, she integrates social vulnerability and social capital theory to help explain the distribution of disaster assistance. In her research she asks questions regarding the equitable distribution of disaster assistance for socially vulnerable communities, and whether social capital increases access to assistance for all.

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  • Antoine Richards
    Department of Emergency Management
    Antoine B. Richards is a Doctor of Science (DSc) student in Emergency Management at Jacksonville State University. Richards’s experience includes nearly a decade of work in the healthcare sector including public health, community health, community outreach, public affairs, and research. His research interests include the intersection of public health and emergency management, social vulnerability/social determinants of health, community resilience, community capacity building and sustainability.

    Currently, he serves as the Assistant Director of Research at Peacebuilding Solutions; a non-profit global humanitarian assistance organization with UN ESOSOC consultative status, and serves on the Board of Advisors of the Georgia Trauma Foundation. Richards received his Master of Public Health from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, Georgia and his BS in Communication from Kennesaw State University. He is a current member of the American Public Health Association and the International Association of Emergency Managers where he serves on the executive board of the Global Student Council.

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  • Cynthia Rivas
    Disaster Science & Management

    ​Cynthia H. Rivas is a doctoral candidate in Disaster Science & Management at the University of Delaware where she is a research assistant at the Disaster Research Center (DRC) and a member of the student chapter of the International Association of Emergency Managers (IAEM). She holds a Master of Landscape Architecture & Environmental Planning degree from University of California, Berkeley, and a Bachelor of Science in Conservation & Resource Studies and Society & Environment from University of California, Berkeley. Her previous work focused on spatial analysis (GIS) in regards to environmental planning. Specifically using remotely sensed data such as Near Infrared and Lidar to identify high risk fire communities and classification of vegetation. During her master’s work she collaborated with Universities of Minho (Braga) and Fernando Pessoa (Porto) in Portugal to understand the dynamics between geology, culture, economics, and eco-tourism from an interdisciplinary perspective. After completing her M.L.A. she spent two years working at a modern art museum as a facilities security operation assistant focusing on understanding the built environment and making certain the appropriate measures to ensure the safety and security of people, its collections, objects, and the facility.

    Rivas’s current research focuses on interdisciplinary modeling and analysis of disaster consequences on health care systems, specifically long-term care facilities, at the city and county level. Her work involves understanding the role disaster plans play in long-term care facilities and city emergency management before, during, and after a disaster. She also researches the role of volunteered geographic information in disaster management. She served as a member of the Disaster Research Center team deployed for quick response field research in Houston, Texas, following the impacts of Hurricane Harvey.

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  • Joy Semien
    Department of Urban & Regional Science

    Joy Semien is currently a Ph.D. student at Texas A&M University studying Urban and Regional Sciences. Joy received her Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from Dillard University (2015). While at Dillard, she studied and conducted research at the Marine Biological Laboratory (2013), in Gabon, Africa (2014), and Kingston, Jamaica (2012). She presented her research at conferences like the Emergent Research Nationals (2013-2015) and Ecological Society of America (2015). Joy also holds a master’s degree in Urban Planning and Environmental Policy from Texas Southern University (2017). While at TSU she completed a thesis entitled “Developing a Disaster Preparedness Tool Kit to Effectively Train the Community of Geismar, Louisiana in the Case of a Natural or Anthropogenic Disaster.” In addition, she worked with top researchers within the Barbara Jordan Mickey Leland School of Public Affairs as a graduate student conducting environmental justice research. 

    As part of her experience, Joy attended international conferences like the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 21) in Paris, France (2015) for the signing of the International Climate Agreement. Joy’s research interests are in building community capacity within multi-hazard communities. She is also interested in understanding the relationship that social capital plays in communities of low income and of color pre-post disaster impact.

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  • Danielle Sharpe
    Department of Epidemiology

    ​Danielle Sharpe is a doctoral student in the Department of Epidemiology at Emory University. She holds a Master of Science degree in Epidemiology from the University of Florida and a Bachelor of Science degree in History, Technology, and Society with a concentration in the history of medicine from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Her research interests include infectious disease epidemiology, disaster epidemiology, vulnerable populations, and mHealth (mobile health). Currently, Danielle is interested in how people living with HIV are prepared for and respond to severe weather events.

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  • Melissa Villarreal
    Natural Hazards Center

    Melissa is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Colorado, Boulder in the Department of Sociology and a Graduate Research Assistant in the Natural Hazards Center of the Institute of Behavioral Science. She previously attended Texas A&M University, College Station, where she received her bachelor’s degree in sociology in 2016. Melissa is interested in gender dynamics within the disaster cycle; particularly in the ways women experience unique challenges during disasters and disaster recovery. Her work explores how the perceived roles of women during disasters influence their experiences and thus their recovery. Additionally, she is now exploring other areas of interest within the broader topic of gender dynamics in hazards and disaster research. She is now a fellow for the Bill Anderson Fund—which is dedicated to advancing the success of minority professionals in the hazards and disasters field—and also serves on the Fund's Student Executive Committee as Co-Program Chair.

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  • Darien Williams
    Department of Urban Studies & Planning
    I work on a team investigating the role of human error in large-scale natural gas pipeline and electric grid infrastructure disturbances, supported by the NSF Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP 2.0) program. Some of our research attention has turned to the recent Merrimack Valley gas explosions in Massachusetts, which has moved us to conducting case studies of similar events across the US. 
    I also work on qualitative data analysis in the NIH-supported RISK Project (Resilience In Survivors of Katrina), a (~15 year) longitudinal investigation of narratives from Black mothers displaced by Hurricane Katrina. I’m doing work in portraying disaster volunteer experiences in the Florida Panhandle following Hurricane Michael in 2018, a project supported by the Natural Hazards Center’s Quick Response Grant Program. 
    I draw on years of experience in qualitative and quantitative sociologically-grounded work in racial & economic justice, climate-change adaptation, and disaster recovery to focus my attention and academic efforts towards understanding and empowering the populations who grapple with these planning challenges without the voyeuristic distance that characterizes many formal research efforts.

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  • John Aggrey
    Department of Sociology

    ​I am a graduate student at the Department of Sociology in Louisiana State University. My research interests span Science and Technology Studies (STS) and Sociology of Health where I focus on infectious diseases from a sociological/public health perspective and an STS perspective. I also approach Sociology of Disaster from this perspective with a focus on exploring the health hazards marginalized communities are exposed to in the wake of disasters and natural hazards and researching ways by which this can be mitigated. 

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  • Akilah Alleyne
    Sociology & Criminal Justice

    Akilah Alleyne is a Ph.D. student in the Department of Sociology & Criminology, who works at the Center for Drug & Health Studies as a Graduate Research Assistant for the University of Delaware. Akilah believes that in the United States today, there is a social need for enforcing a basic human right of individuals—access to adequate housing. Akilah's values in community engagement and social action towards improving the overall lives and well-being of disadvantaged and underserved populations inform her research on housing instability, residential mobility, educational trajectories, disparate contact with the criminal justice system, and the development of social capital over the life-course. Akilah has worked on and supported the Wilmington Street PAR (Participatory Action Researchers) Project, which involves a coalition of community partners conducting an ethnographic community needs assessment of Wilmington's oldest and most violent neighborhoods. Researchers on the PAR project organize low-income persons who are either actively in or closely identified with the streets and the U.S. criminal justice system, and empirically document the lived experiences of study participants. Through experiences working on the PAR Project, Akilah has gained training and skills conducting a unique form of research, which as it involves using researchers from within a given community to gather data. This method also assumes that such researchers are best suited to critically examine individual and structural experiences of a marginalized, dismissed and forgotten population in society—street life-oriented people. Akilah holds a Master's Degree in Sociology from the University of Delaware and plans to complete her doctorate by the Spring of 2020.

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  • Mojeed Bello
    Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

    ​Mojeed received the B.Tech. Degree in electrical and electronics engineering from the Kwara State Polytechnics, Nigeria in 2009, and the M.Eng. electrical and computer engineering from the Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, United State of America, in 2017 respectively. In 2016, he joined the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland, the United State of America as a Teaching Assistance, and in 2018 joined as a team leader in Department of Energy And Environment, Washington D.C. Green Zone Environmental Program. Summer Youth Employment Program, Solar DC works. 

    His research interests include national disaster and protection, environmental engineering, power electronics, micro grid, renewable energy, power optimization, electrical machines and drives, active filters, flexible ac transmission systems, high-voltage dc, and power quality. Mojeed Bello is a Member of the IEEE International Conference on Power Electronics, Drives and Energy Systems, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in 2007, Association of Owner Pilot American (AOPA) 2012, IEEE Computer and Engineering Society /Power and Energy Society 2016. 

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  • Tiffany Cousins
    School of Public & International Affairs

    Tiffany Cousins is a doctoral student at Virginia Tech studying Planning, Governance, and Globalization. Tiffany’s research focuses on the use of citizen science and crowd-sourced data to map localized/nuisance flooding. She is currently developing a platform where the data can be viewed by residents and modeled to influence flood policies.

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  • April Davison
    Urban Affairs & Public Policy

    ​I am a doctoral student at the University of Delaware in the Urban Affairs and Public Policy program. Before pursuing my doctorate, I obtained my bachelor’s degree in political science from Williams College and then my master’s in public administration from the University of North Texas. My research focuses on housing policy, identifying residential mobility patterns, and understanding how neighborhood conditions impact minority populations. I try to apply a local lens to my research, meaning my focus is on local policy and administrative endeavors. Some of my past research includes understanding the interconnections of housing and health where the goal is to address the mental and physical issues related to housing instability on populations. I am excited to be a member of the BAF in order to explore how community resiliency methods can be more effectively integrated into local planning policy to lessen post-disaster displacement and neighborhood succession.

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  • Jeannie Purchase
    Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering
  • Celine Robinson
    Civil & Environmental Engineering

    Celine is a doctoral student in Civil and Environmental Engineering in the Systems, Risk, and Decision study track at Duke University. In 2018, she obtained a Bachelor of Environmental Engineering from the University of Delaware with a concentration in Environmental Facilities Design and Construction and minors in Sustainable Infrastructure and Civil Engineering. 

    While attending the University of Delaware, her research focus primarily concerned understanding what factors affected homeowners’ decisions to participate in property acquisition programs following a disaster. This project aimed to develop both a predictive model and understand the importance of each of the property attributes, community factors, hazard experience factors, and socio-demographic characteristics analyzed. This work led to the publication of an article entitled “Homeowner acceptance of voluntary property acquisition offers”. Celine’s dissertation work at Duke will shift focus to a different mitigation option, and emphasize on the economics of the (re)insurance industry and how the decisions in the (re)insurance industry influence pricing and profitability in catastrophic risk markets.

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  • Danielle Thomas
    Civil & Environmental Engineering

    Danielle is a third year PhD Student in the Sustainable Water Development Program at the University of Iowa where she is advised under Witold Krajewski. Her research looks at probabilistic and hydrological models to predict and prevent floods. She is a GEM Associate Fellow and University of Iowa Graduate College Recruitment Fellow. Danielle holds a B.S. in Civil Engineering with a focus in Water Resources. Recently, Danielle was elected as the Diversity Chair for the Graduate and Professional Student Government. In this position, she aims to increase cultural competency across campus and bridge pathways to connect students of diversity, building a supportive community to help retain underrepresented groups at the university.

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  • Valerie Washington
    Industrial & Operations Engineering

    Valerie is a doctoral student at Michigan State University studying industrial and Operations engineering. She is interested in the applications of operations research and risk analysis to flood mitigation and hurricane evacuation decision making.

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  • Yvonne (Alex) White
    Forestry Department

    I am a doctoral student in the Forestry department at Michigan State University. I completed a Bachelor of Science in Sustainable Development at Appalachian State University in 2013. After graduation, I worked with several nonprofit organizations including Gateway Greening in St. Louis, MO, Community Rebuilds in Moab, UT, and Haw River Assembly in Bynum, NC. My research interests include invasive forest pest control, preserving and creating green space in cities, and environmental science and public policy. 

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  • Paula Buchanan
    Department of Emergency Management

    Paula Buchanan is a doctoral student in Emergency Management.  Her research focuses on the intersection of emergency management, health services, and information technology systems, specifically on how socio-technical systems function as a communication channel to provide populations with information to mitigate the impact of public health issues associated with disasters.  Ms. Buchanan is interested in using mixed methods to more effectively understand the multi-faceted nature of her interdisciplinary research interests.  She is also passionate about using social media, information technology, and data visualization tools to effectively communicate with targeted audiences.   

    Ms. Buchanan has professional experience in communications, university-level instruction, and project management.  Her work experience includes over ten years as a university-level business school instructor. 

    Prior to starting her doctoral program, she received a Deans' Honor Scholarship, a four‑year, merit-based university award, to attend Tulane University.  Ms. Buchanan graduated from Tulane University with a BS in Biology, BA in History, and a minor in Economics.  She also has a MBA and MPH with a concentration in Health Systems Management.  Ms. Buchanan is a student member of the Academy of Management, Academy Health, and the International Association of Emergency Managers.

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  • Viviane Clement
    Department of Anthropology

    I began my professional career in Chicago as a health care justice advocate with the Sargent Shriver National Center on Poverty Law. The start of this position coincided with the Supreme Court's decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act. To meet the need for information, I developed training materials about the health care provisions, Medicaid expansion, Medicaid federal and state policies, and the insurance marketplaces. My objective was to ensure that advocates, community leaders, social workers, and service providers understood the new health laws. By empowering these specific stakeholders with information, the most vulnerable populations who were largely impacted by the new health reforms received access to needed health services. My position as a health care justice advocate informed my work as a policy analyst intern with Texas Health Institute in Austin in the summer of 2018. In this position, I wrote several policy briefs regarding oral health service gaps in Texas in response to a legislative call for information about adult dental care.

    Weaving my school work and industry work, I choose to study abroad and conduct field research in Denmark, Ethiopia, and Australia. In Denmark, I studied the northern European health care systems and carried out a research project on how to improve the quality of life of seniors. In Ethiopia, I co-taught English and Biology to middle school students for the first half of my internship. I, then, joined a theater group that focused on health promotion through theater, circus arts, and comedy. The objective of the show was to teach people about the dangers of genital mutilation, encourage safe sex, and promote gender equality. In Australia, I worked with an organization that provides social services to women and families who have been displaced and have experienced recent traumas. My final project in this position was a community needs assessment proposal on how to improve access to resources for growing multicultural immigrant communities in the city of Canberra. Because of these international experiences, I am extremely comfortable in my ability to jump into diverse spaces with confidence and perform important work efficiently while applying a unique perspective.

    My work and academic experiences reveal my leadership skills, ability to manage projects, and passion for interdisciplinary study methods. I am starting my Ph.D. in Cultural Anthropology to expand my skills to better study the intersection of health disparities and environmental justice work that centers cultural practices that inform medical decisions.  

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  • Brittney Drakeford
    Urban and Regional Planning and Design

    Brittney Drakeford is a believer in FATE – the practice of combining faith, arts, and technology to energize communities to create equitable places for generations today and tomorrow.  A sixth-generation native of Prince George's County, Drakeford is interested in the legacies of African American communities and the ways in which the built environment holds the memories of discrimination and segregation and the ways that intangible cultural heritage can be leveraged to design more equitable places.

    Drakeford has worked as a curator and Youth Program Director for the African American Atelier, where she launched the 25under25 emerging artist exhibition and professional artistic development program and curated The Learning Tree – an intergenerational exhibition that highlights the social exchanges and relationships between artists and their mentors.

    She has worked as a historian for the Prince George's County Black History Program and a currently works for the County's Planning Department as a Senior Planner responsible for managing Community Engagement and Outreach for the County's Zoning Ordinance and Subdivision Regulations rewrite. Drakeford is a former member of the M-NCPPC's Diversity Council.

    Brittney is a 2017 Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Leader, and has a specific focus on using civic participation, community engagement, and social capital to address the root causes of health inequities in communities that have been repeatedly victimized by discrimination and disinvestment. She is a member of the 2015 cohort of Prince George's County's FortyUnder40 and a recent inductee to Tau Sigma Delta, Honor Society in Architecture and Allied Arts.

    Drakeford holds a Master's degree in Management from Wake Forest University; a Bachelor's degree in African American Studies and Journalism from North Carolina Agricultural Technical State University; and is a current PhD student in the Urban and Regional Planning and Design program at the University of Maryland College Park. 

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  • Felicia Henry
    Department of Sociology

    ​Felicia A. Henry is Doctoral Student in the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice at the University of Delaware. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, criminal justice, resilience, disasters, community, and social support systems. Previously, Felicia was a Program Manager for Diversion and Reintegration at the New York City Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice, where she oversaw the implementation of an array of effective diversion, re-entry, and gender-specific programming that served individuals leaving New York City's jails every year. Prior to that, Felicia was the Restorative Justice Social Worker at the Brownsville Community Justice Center, a project of the Center for Court Innovation. In that capacity, Felicia oversaw the Brownsville Youth Court program, Alternative to Incarceration programming, provided individual services to justice involved youth, and managed restorative practice initiatives. Felicia is the founder of Behind the Walls, Between the Lines (BTWBTL). Behind the Walls, Between the Lines (BTWBTL) is a movement to deepen the awareness of the legacy of racial inequity in America, particularly within the criminal justice system, and inspire activism aimed at its dismantlement. BTWBTL uses spoken word and other artistic mediums as a platform to tell stories, reclaim narratives, and activate the power of those directly impacted to catalyze change. Felicia has taught creative arts in maximum-security prisons in Uganda, Africa, as well as worked directly with populations impacted by the justice system—men, women and young people formerly and currently incarcerated, and communities impacted by historical and racial trauma. Although born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Felicia Henry has strong ties to her Caribbean roots. A Temple University alumna, Felicia received her Master of Social Work degree from the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania. Her background in both social work and criminal justice gives her the language to describe her own personal experiences and pushes her to use her platforms to share the stories of those impacted by racial injustice, especially to those who consider racism to be over, are averse to having discussions about racial justice, are not within the black and brown community, and/or are not well versed in racial justice principles.

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  • Brandon Hunter
    Environmental Engineering
  • Farah Nibbs
    Biden School of Public Policy and Administration

    I am currently a PhD student at the University of Delaware doing a major in Disaster Science and Management. I recently graduated from the  SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry.  My graduate project focused on creating a sustainable and affordable rainwater harvesting system for small island developing states (SIDS) and remote rural communities using Ferrocement and Biosand filters. This project hoped to offer an alternative path for climate change adaptation and resilience and water security in these communities.  In November 2017, I built my first prototype of the tank in Grenada. For my work on this, I have been featured on Going Green which is a Spectrum news programme on sustainability. The link to this news clip can be found here: .

    I am also a National Science Foundation INCLUDES (Inclusion across the Nation of Communities of Learners of Underrepresented Discoverers in Engineering and Science) SURGE (Scholars from Under-Represented Groups in Engineering and the Social Sciences) scholar. I recently presented at the 2018, 16th annual New York State Green Building Conference on "Small Island Developing States- Resilience in the Face of Climate Change." And, in June, presented at the 43rd annual conference of Caribbean Studies Association in Cuba on "The role of climate change education in household resiliency in the Caribbean."  Additionally, I am a LEED Green Associate, and the recent recipient of the Charles Lathrop Pack Memorial Student Grant, USGBC Greenbuild 2017 Regional Scholarship and the Jay and Olive Bentley Scholarship.

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  • Christin Salley
    Civil Engineering

    Christin Salley is a doctoral student in the Civil Engineering program at Johns Hopkins University from Flossmoor, Illinois. She was a Spring 2019 graduate from the University of Maryland, earning a Bachelor of Science degree in Fire Protection Engineering. Her undergraduate degree in Fire Protection Engineering has taught her the importance of protecting people, property, and the environment. This sparked an interest in translating the knowledge she learned from fire disasters, to all natural disasters. Her undergraduate major provided her with a unique perspective on structural analysis that is not thought of often, but is essential to successful construction and safety in terms of evacuation and resilience. These systems and practices are not only useful for fires, as they can be implemented after any type of disaster.

    In graduate school, she desires to conduct research in risk, reliability, and resilience for the protection and recovery of the built environment and social systems within communities after a natural disaster. Specifically, she would like to research community resilience and human behavior before, during, and after these events. She hopes to implement proper training programs, community-based disaster plans, and procedures that help mitigate losses to society due to catastrophic events. Her long term career goals are to go into academic and administrative roles at the collegiate level, along with becoming a licensed engineer. She wants to train, mentor, and teach the next generation, while conducting research that benefits communities worldwide. 

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  • Chandler Wilkins
    Urban and Regional Sciences

    Chandler Wilkins is a doctoral student studying Urban and Regional Sciences at Texas A&M University. He holds a Master of Urban Planning degree from Texas A&M University and a Bachelor’s of Science in Community and Regional Planning from Iowa State University.  

    During his undergraduate career, Chandler worked on a project entitled “Neighborhood Housing Damage and Restoration in Galveston, Texas Following Hurricane Ike.” This research focused on the impacts and restoration of neighborhoods in Galveston, Texas post-Hurricane Ike. Chandler’s master’s thesis was entitled “Are We Improving?: The Neighborhood Quality of Housing Choice Voucher Recipients in Houston, Texas Following Hurricane Harvey.” This study examined the neighborhood outcome and quality of Housing Choice Voucher (HCV) recipients in Houston, Texas before and after Hurricane Harvey.  

    Chandler’s research interests include housing, disasters, community development, and neighborhood quality.  

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  • Amy Takebe
    TESOL/ Applied Linguistics

    Born and raised in Hitachi City, Japan, Amy is no stranger to natural and technical disasters. However, it was not until the 2011 Great East Japan Earthquake that Amy realized the value of multilingualism in disaster contexts. Following the 2016 Kumamoto Earthquake in Japan, one of the students in her English Communication class worked as a multilingual disaster volunteer. While tutoring the student, Amy saw a need to develop a Language for Specific Purposes (LSP) curriculum for those interested in becoming multilingual first responders and volunteers.

    Now as a doctoral student in the Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL) program at Oklahoma State University, Amy also sees a need for more disaster research with an applied linguistics theoretical framework. For a research project in her sociolinguistics course, she has investigated North American undergraduate students' perceptions of post-earthquake announcements read by speakers of varieties of English. She presented her findings at the Language and Linguistics Student Conference in 2018. She is excited to further investigate language use in disaster contexts in collaboration with her BAF family.

    Her current areas of research include cross-cultural pragmatics, English for Specific Purposes (ESP), and discourse analysis with a focus on disaster warnings and post-disaster risk communication. 

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  • Chivonne Battle
    School of Public and International Affairs

    ​With a B.S. in Material Science & Engineering (Virginia Tech, ’05); Chivonne is Virginia Tech graduate student ultimately in pursuit of a Planning, Governance, & Globalization Ph.D.  Her career has been based in engineering, education, and management. However, growing up unexposed and embedded in the cyclic behaviors resulting from poverty lives in her heart. Looking back to forge a new path,  Chivonne’s decided to connect her technical engineering side to the social engineering world, in hopes of tackling the physiological and psychological impact of socio-economic despair. As a member of the Virginia Tech U.S. Water Study Team and now a BAF Fellow, she seeks and unveils truth in working with communities/ local governments with infrastructural concerns; while journeying on to reverse the impact of poverty.

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